Monday, December 28, 2009

It’s A Jungle Out There

On December 26th, the six of us boarded a very rickety old propeller plane to fly inland for a 3-day tour of the rain forest. After a stunning if slightly nerve-racking flight, we arrived on a tiny grass airstrip in the middle of the jungle, picked up our luggage and headed towards a rather primitive lodge in a beautiful location called Raleighvallen on Foengoe Island in the Central Suriname Nature Reserve. Our guide was somewhat unprofessional (having slept through our introductory talk), the group size was a bit too large and the fast paced seven hour walk and climb on the first day through the sauna of the jungle was grueling (Dad, Seb and I alternated carrying Emma and Macsen the entire time). That aside it was a great experience. The jungle was breathtaking and the guide explained the various medicinal and nutritional uses for an amazing variety of plants and trees. We heard a great mixture of bird calls and almost caught a glimpse of the elusive toucan. At night, we took a walk to find tarantula spiders and then lay in bed (with our mosquito nets more carefully tucked around us) listening to the incredibly loud and eerie cry of the howler monkeys. Swimming in the river was a refreshing if slightly worrying experience as half of the group swam while the other half stood next to them and fished for piranhas! Apparently they won’t attack unless you are bleeding. The tour ended with a long and lovely drift down the river, a stop at the village where our guide grew up (sadly much of which was destroyed in the ‘80s during the civil war) and back to Domburg to the Pjotter.

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